TOP DOGS FACING NEW CHALLENGE
Christmas may have come and gone but AFC Sudbury are now top of the tree - and the manager and players are together when it comes to ensuring they are not going to let the novelty of it trip them up.
The Yellows go to Maldon & Tiptree on Saturday (3pm) looking to make it a perfect 10 in terms of straight league victories, following a highly-pleasing 2-0 home victory over arch rivals Bury Town in the first A134 West Suffolk Derby in the league in five years.
But that derby delight is not going to anyone’s head in their quest for the bigger goal now - using their three point head start in 2016 to deliver promotion come May.
“I’m delighted to carry on the run we finished last year, which obviously puts us top of the league,” said manager Jamie Godbold.
“It feels great and puts us in a great position.
“January is a tough month fixture-wise and puts us under a bit of a different pressure that we have not been used to since I’ve been here.
“But if we keep working hard to prepare for games right and keep the processes which have been put in place going, then I certainly think we will win more games than we lose.
“We will be up there and it is just a case of where we will end up.”
Striker Luke Callander revealed he had got off his sick bed in the lead up to the game to play, having suffered with a bad case of tonsillitis over Christmas.
But the number nine got the party at the Wardale Williams Stadium started on Saturday, by breaking the deadlock in the 39th minute with his 18th goal of the season.
“It was important to get the three points. Derby days are always tough and it was very pleasing for the club in general and, on a personal level, to get the first, as a striker, is always good as well,” he said.
But he underlined the determination to succeed where other AFC sides have failed in recent years by revealing no-one is getting carried away with the winning run and now being top dogs.
“I don’t think I’ve been involved in a run with as many wins as this.
“It has been bizarre as I don’t think we have really realised how good a run we have been on and that is the strange thing.
“We walk into the changing room and there is no jumping and singing and dancing around. It was a business-like performance and there is a lot of humility in the changing room.
“Everyone pats each other on the back and we go again.”
He added: “We are not getting ahead of ourselves. It is a tough league and now we just need to get onto the next one (game) and see how many we can go unbeaten or how many we can win in a row.”
And the former Ipswich Town youth, who was signed from Chelmsford City in March last year, said being top in January is great timing.
“It puts extra pressure on but it is where we want to be,” he said.
“It is a good time to start be top of the league, going into the back end of the season.
“It was fantastic there was nearly 800 fans here today and long may they come every week as it does give you a massive boost.”
But as pleased as he was with their attacking, Godbold said it was the defensive players who impressed him the most in Saturday’s derby duel.
“I was pleased with our skipper Clarky as I thought he managed the midfield area really well with Berquez and our back five was solid, not giving Bury anything.”